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Backdating an Advancement Date

A Question about Backdating an Advancement Date

A reader sent in this question:

My kid achieved First Class Scout status in September 2021 and actively participated in camps, earned merit badges, completed service hours, and fulfilled other requirements over the next 11 months. However, he made a mistake by neglecting to request a Scoutmaster conference and a Board of Review when he became eligible for advancement to the Star rank in June 2022. It was only in June 2023 we found this and went and spoke to his Scoutmaster about this delay. The Scoutmaster gave his conference, he passed his Board of Review, and advanced to Star in June 2023.

Though it was indeed my kid’s mistake, he did not receive recognition for nearly a year’s worth of Scouting activities. The Scoutmaster is refusing to retroactively date his Star rank advancement to June 2022. Should we talk to higher officials in Scouting to resolve this matter? Please advise.

My Thoughts

Advancing in Scouts BSA is a multi-step process, with the aim of teaching various skills, including responsibility and self-reliance. Let’s break down the situation presented and offer some clarity.

Understanding the Process: The process to advance in rank involves not only completing the merit badges, service hours, and other requirements but also completing a Scoutmaster Conference and passing a Board of Review. The latter two are crucial steps in the process and cannot be overlooked.

Taking Responsibility: The responsibility lies with the Scout to initiate the Scoutmaster Conference. This can be a hard lesson to learn, especially when there’s a delay in advancement. But, it’s important to understand that these procedures are in place to teach Scouts the importance of self-initiative.

The Consequences of Missing Steps: In this situation, the Scout was active and continued to work on requirements but missed requesting the required Scoutmaster conference, and never continued to his Board of Review. This delay, while unfortunate, is a learning opportunity. It highlights the importance of paying attention to details and following through with responsibilities.

Addressing the Backdating Issue: While it might seem logical to request backdating since the Scout was active throughout the year, the actual completion date for the Scoutmaster conference and Board of Review is pivotal. Based on my understanding, backdating doesn’t align with the BSA policy. The date these steps are completed is the date the advancement is officially recognized. The Guide to Advancement is always a good place to find more information about advancement policy.

Next Steps: While it’s natural to want to rectify the situation, it’s worth noting that the experience has inherent value. Instead of appealing the policy, consider discussing with your Scout the importance of understanding the process and ensuring all steps are taken timely in the future.

While the delay in advancement might be disappointing, it serves as a valuable lesson in responsibility and the importance of process. It’s essential to move forward and focus on future opportunities.

Readers, what do you think? Add your comments below

Related Resources for Backdating an Advancement Date

What Is a Scoutmaster Conference

What Is a Scoutmaster Conference?

The Scoutmaster conference is an essential component in the Scouts BSA advancement process. The Scoutmaster conference is not just a formality but a pivotal step preceding the Board of Review. It’s an opportunity for the Scout and Scoutmaster to discuss progress, set goals, and address any concerns. If overlooked or delayed, it can push back the advancement date and the official recognition of a Scout’s progression, emphasizing the importance of timely completion and active engagement in the advancement process.

what is a board of review

What Is a Board of Review?

The Board of Review is another fundamental step in the Scouts BSA advancement process. The Board of Review serves as a final checkpoint after the Scoutmaster conference, where a Scout’s understanding, growth, and commitment are evaluated by a committee. This board doesn’t aim to retest skills but to ensure the Scout’s readiness for the next rank. The completion of the Board of Review determines the advancement date. Any delay or oversight in scheduling or undergoing this review can consequently affect the official date of a Scout’s rank progression, underscoring its significance in the advancement framework.

Frequently Asked Questions about Backdating an Advancement Date

What is the significance of the advancement date in Scouts BSA?

The advancement date marks the official recognition of a Scout’s progression to the next rank. This date is determined by the completion of the Scoutmaster conference and the Board of Review.

If a Scout misses requesting a Scoutmaster conference and Board of Review, will it impact the advancement date?

Yes, missing these crucial steps will delay the advancement date. The date they are completed becomes the advancement date.

Can the advancement date be backdated if the Scout was active but didn’t complete all the required steps on time?

No, backdating the advancement date doesn’t align with the BSA policy. The date of the Scoutmaster conference and Board of Review determines the advancement date.

Whose responsibility is it to ensure the timely completion of all requirements for the earliest advancement date?

It’s the Scout’s responsibility to initiate the steps leading up to the Board of Review. This teaches them the importance of self-initiative and attention to detail.

If there’s a discrepancy in the advancement date, should it be addressed with higher officials in Scouting?

While it’s possible to discuss concerns with the local council, it’s crucial to recognize the value of the process. The advancement date serves as a milestone and lesson in responsibility.


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